When SF Bay Area thrash legends Forbidden — once home to drummers Paul Bostaph and Gene Hoglan — put word out that they were looking for a new drummer, it wasn’t long before the band’s inbox was flooded with audition videos.
Sasha Horn, formerly of November’s Doom and a music publicist by day — i.e., someone who should have been the first to know about the auditions — was actually late to the party. “A friend of mine actually talked me into it,” he says on the phone from Portugal where he’s touring with his other band, Ava Inferi. “He sent me a link and said, ‘You should do this.’ When I saw it, I freaked out because I’ve been a fan of Forbidden since I was 12 years old. I bought their first album on cassette, like, the day it came out. So I said, ‘How can I pass this up? I have to try to do this,’ so I went for it.”
From the original submission pool, Forbidden narrowed it down to 12 drummers from all over the globe, inviting them to try out in the band’s rehearsal space in Oakland, California. Having shown up early, Horn had the misfortune of hearing a top contender from Australia behind the door followed by the inevitable comparisons between himself and the competition.
Miraculously, it didn’t psyche him out. “I had no choice but to 100 percent nail this down,” he says. “So I got behind the kit and where I normally would have been nervous, the whole childhood-nostalgic feeling took over: I’ve been waiting for this moment for 23 years. It was like I was ‘floating above myself and watching myself’ play, to quote from one of my favorite movies, Step Brothers. But literally, in the middle of playing, I just looked around and I’m just playing with these guys. It was like ‘I’m possessed by metal.’”
Although he never says so, Horn had an automatic confidence booster in the knowledge that his sub-par video did nothing to take away from his performance. “A lot of the guys’ videos were even more glossy as far as syncing the audio from the track with their playing, split screens and stuff. I had a good enough audio to get where I was but you couldn’t really hear my kicks because the high end of the cymbals was drowning it out.”
Looking back, Horn was afraid Forbidden would ambush him by choosing an obscure track, but luckily they just had him play the same tracks from the audition video. “At that point, I knew I didn’t have to play it note for note,” he says. “What it really came down to was chemistry. We got in there and played through one of the songs, and everyone looked at each other and said, ‘This is so amazing.’”